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Showing posts from July, 2008

Everything Is Breaking (and an opportunity to be nosy!)

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Does it ever seem like things break in waves around your house? Within the last month, we've been having all these little things here and there going wrong. I emphasize the little and I am grateful they are little. 

Well I wouldn't exactly call the oven debacle a little thing, although a new heating element only cost $55 and we did the quick fix ourselves. Then our second bathroom sink wasn't draining. I tried my darndest to snake the clog free myself, but no I had to call our local friendly plumber. The power snake did the trick in about 20 minutes. Charge to snake the sink, $155 bucks.

To top it all off, my car wanted in on the action. A light appeared, the your tires are unusually low light, on my dashboard. I had no idea I had such a sensor on my tires. Turns out after two weeks of driving with it on, I had a screw in my tire, that was causing a very slow leak. The dealership did not charge me to plug my tire when I had an oil change. I don't know if they just forgo…

Couldn't Resist The Urge To Speak Up...

Saturday I seized the moment and ran a few errands with out the children in tow. Late in the afternoon, I found myself smack dab in the middle of a Baby Superstore.

We all know who is in a Baby Superstore on a Saturday afternoon. Expecting parents, new parents, and doting new grandparents. Oh and me, picking up humidifier filters, which is the only reason I visit this Baby Superstore. The energy in the place was buzzing with excitement.

Pregnant moms were checking out the "most adorable Halloween costumes they had ever seen". Ever. Big husky dad's were contorting themselves into the straps of baby carriers, with the urging from their wives, raging with hormones, on the cusp of delivery. Then there were adorable itty bitty newborns, all bundled up, with coordinating blankets over their infant carriers, the new parents peeking at them around every turn, for their first public outting.

Expecting parents were armed with little scanning guns. Contemplating the smallest de…

Tuesday Tips: Plastic Water Bottle Alternatives

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Our Collection of Alternatives!
A few years ago, we began to phase out our plastic sippy cups and #7 Nalgene bottles. My concerns all started with an article that I read in a magazine called Organic Living. The article detailed the hazards of plastics leaching toxins into our food and drinking water. Very recently, the safety of plastics has been addressed more thoroughly, providing the consumer with alternatives to the unsafe choices that may linger in our own kitchen cabinets.

The main concern is Bisphenol-A or better known as BPA, which is used in many baby bottles and Nalgene water bottles. BPA is considered toxic because it's a hormone disruptor. Other plastics to avoid contain endocrine disruptors and carcinogens. Studies show the bottles are more prone to leaching when they are heated (microwave, dishwasher) and scratched or the surface has been damaged.

There are a few top plastics to avoid, it's easy to find the type of plastic (#) on the bottom of the waterbottle or p…

As The Smoke Clears...

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Old habits die hard. Habits that have been ingrained in daily ritual for years, for over forty years to be exact. How do you go about changing forty years of reinforcement?

My father succumb to the habitual addiction of smoking, over forty years ago. I will have to inquire as to the when it all started, I am almost positive he started smoking when he was in the Airforce. Smoking unfiltered Pall Malls to top it off. The label is imprinted in my mind, red with white lettering, some bizarre crest in the middle of the pack. Occasionally in the last decade, he'd go cold turkey and quit, but I don't think it ever lasted longer than a few months.

As with any addiction, the choice to stop ultimately has to be of one's own volition. Even if we know that addiction can kill you, age you beyond belief, stress out your organs, and permeate the smell of your hands, breath, clothing, and home. Aah, it's just a smoke, right?

Two weeks ago, my father quit smoking. He recently fell ill, so…

Au Revoir le Tour de France

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The sun has set on the 95th Tour de France. My mornings shall return to normal, no longer will I be glued to Versus, but PBS once again. I won't be contemplating how I am not the demographic for TdF viewers, with all male enhancement and hair replacement commercials. And, I won't be tuning into Versus' newest brainchild, The Contender Muay Thai, even though I saw no less than 500 commercials for it.

Truth be told, this is what I will be missing:

Good bye lean muscles, aching bodies, and endearing smiles. 
And a final congratulations to 33 year old Spanish rider, Carlos Sastre, for winning the Yellow Jersey and the title, with a mere 58 second lead. What a wonderful race. Your win at L'Alpe-D'Huez was by far my favorite stage.

I may have even come out of this year's race with a new favorite, an up and comer, ready to watch move into the yellow jersey within a few years, Luxembourg's Andy Schleck. Winner of the white jersey, for best youngest rider.


Au Re…

Spreading Some Sunshine

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Oh dear, it's a hot one today in Colorado. Sunny and hot. I decided to take a late morning run and haven't quite recovered in the sweat department with the heat. Is it normal for you neck to sweat profusely?

Anyway, I thought it would be a wonderful day to spread some Bloggy Sunshine.


Kristin of Jilli Java & Garden of Eden passed along this award to me, which made me blush and smile. It's funny, the awards come in waves in the blogosphere and I was kind of treading water, just wishing one would come my way. Now this award typically comes with a list of rules, but I am throwing caution in the wind, you can find the rules if you google Arte & Pico.

I am passing this on to one fellow blogger that lives about 10 minutes from my house. From her blog, I get to know her a little bit better with every post, even though we don't see each other regularly. So thanks Cathy for sharing, check out The Clothesline sometime.



This award came my way from Renee at But Why Mo…

"1980-Something" Arrived In A Box Today...

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My best guesstimates would pinpoint 1986 as the year, the contents of my brown card board box take me back to. One brown box, one portal to 22 years ago. Holy, I just said, 22 years ago!?!

The radio was playing hot pop such as Whitney Houston's Greatest Love of All, Madonna's Live to Tell, Prince's Kiss, or Wang Chung's Everybody Have Fun Tonight. But quite interestingly enough, I was more enthralled with boys on skateboards, so my Yellow Sony Walkman contained a mixed tape blaring alternative sounds such as Violent Femmes' Blister In The Sun or The Dead Milkmen's Big Lizard In My Back Yard. More Hits from 1986 are simply a click away. Go ahead, take a peek, remember when.

What a true juxtaposition of chasing the alternative scene, all the while keeping up with the rich girls. Yeah you know the type, the preppies with perfect hair, alligators on their shirts, and fancy hood ornaments on daddy's car. I ran in my own circle, but I could keep up with them, sho…

Thursday 13: Mile High Music Festival Observations

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1. Going to see live music when you are not totally obsessed with the musicians is a huge load off and quite fun actually. People talking, screaming, singing along, no problem with me!

2. Rodrigo y Gabriela, a guitar duo from Mexico City, are incredible musicians.

3. Although we all know he's got a shy, sensitive side, I firmly believe after all his boobie comments, that John Mayer is one kinky guy behind closed doors.Here he is at the Festival, covering Van Halen's Panama sans t-shirt. More live show footage here.


4. People look awfully silly taking photos at night from the very back of a crowd of the stage. What is the point of that?

5. Overheard by a young male, obviously already intoxicated at 4pm, "Dude, I can't make it anther 4.5 hours to see Dave".

6. People I would have called dirty hippies a decade ago, with long white boy dread locks, now rock Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses. Gosh, where have I been?

7. The festival was at our local soccer complex, so I…

Tuesday Tips: Five Food Ingredients To Avoid

I'm a firm believer in being able to easily read and understand what ingredients are in the food I purchase and ultimately my family consumes. There are some ingredients that I avoid, if I see them listed on a label (READ YOUR LABELS!), I pass. It's that simple. Some of them may be considered food additives, which is another post completely. Food additives are added to foods to improve flavor and taste. Typically they are chemicals.

Ingredients that I choose to avoid have been proven to be of no nutritional value to our bodies. Beyond lacking nutritional value, many ingredients and additives are harmful to our arteries and have been linked to cell damage.

So what are these ingredients you wonder?

1. High Fructose Corn Syrup-
This is a big one for me. HFCS is in everything, go look at your ketchup label. Yep, it's in there. You'll be amazed at how many food products contain HFCS. But why is it bad, it's made from corn right? Probably, GMO, genetically modified cor…

Garden CSI: Illustrated Version Update

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Well my friends, I thought my earwig adventure story was a good one. I've spent about 3 nights now in the garden, Shop Vacuuming up the Pill Bugs and Earwigs. And last night, I didn't find ONE earwig in my garden. Can you believe it?

To my delight, one of my blogging friends, and a chuckle of a good time June Cleaver Nirvana, graciously offered up an illustration to complete my story. Now you must know that HRH draws quite the crowds with her illustrations, everything from experiences with an electrician and her fruit bowl to pretty nails or beaver traps. Yes, I said beaver traps. To check out all of her wonderful animated life, just click here.

Funny enough when I was writing my Garden CSI post, it felt like something was missing. So thank you, HRH for completing the story for me. It's now wonderful. I've been given clearance to publish this photo, so enjoy.


BTW..My regularly scheduled Tuesday Tips, will be coming shortly, we lost power today, so I am a bit off schedule…

Garden CSI: The Lettuce Has Been Devoured Episode

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Preface: I've decided to garden. Nothing big, just my little patch of green, making me happy. Hopefully it will produce some beautiful vegetables that will make our bellies content. I'm not much into chemicals, so I am making my way blindly through this gardening adventure, taking the roadblocks as they come.

The other morning, I gathered up the girls to do our morning greeting to the garden. Check on the plants, assess any bug damage, feel delight with a new bud or fruit. When I gasped, noticing my lettuce patch had been devoured overnight. Gone. Like who let the starving bunnies loose in my garden. Only problem is, we don't have bunnies in our yard or neighborhood. Apparently we have hungry exoskeletal creatures roaming about.

How do I know this, you ask?

All day, I couldn't let go of the fact that something destroyed my lettuce overnight. I knew that the roly poly bugs were the culprits in my zucchini and bean plant demise, but now my lettuce? Just couldn't be. At…

Pizza Saturday, huh? Marco's in Denver!

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The Foodie buzz has been brewing about a new pizza place in Denver. Marco's Coal-Fired Pizzeria boasts authentic Neapolitan pizza, right down to the Italian sourced flour in their crust. With a broken oven, Pizza Friday was a bust in our house, so we headed downtown to give Marco's a try.

We decided to take the girls for lunch, with our reasoning being they are just more manageable around noon and we knew it would be less crowded, than on a Friday night. First of all, let me cheer with delight, when I share that there is FREE PARKING in the lot next to the building, huge bonus for downtown Denver. When we arrived, we were the only people in the restaurant. Granted it was about 11:30 on a Saturday.

We ordered two pizzas and their specialty coal fired wings. The wings are made with onions, fresh herbs and lemons, served up with focaccia that the girls devoured. They were a nice refreshing change from your typical buffalo style wings. The pizzas we ordered were the Staten Island, w…

Gentle Reminders

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Last night I took a couple of hours to myself to decompress. It's been a long week for a few reasons, one being it's close to "GO TIME" for my hubby. He'll be wrapping up his project and heading off to Los Angeles with it, to officially finalize the movie. It's what he does every year, every August, leaves us for a few weeks. Which means, it's all me, all the time.

So when I can escape, I jumped at the opportunity to head out to see some live music and chitchat with my darling scottish, green card in wallet, friend. The music turned out to be a bit loud and not quite our scene. It was more of the 50-Something empty nesters rocking like no tomorrow. I was impressed, but was more thrilled with a cold Shandy in hand. I prefer my Shandy with 1/2 Bass and 1/2 Sprite. (miss you, BZ!!)

When I arrived home I was locking the door, I noticed a 4 year old hand written gentle reminder on the door. The back of our door, holds a clip for me to house all important remi…

Farmer Envy, Roly Poly Bugs, and Lots of Patience

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Early Saturday morning, I went on a leisurely stroll with one of my dear friends through the Farmer's Market in Boulder. Surprisingly to my delight, the market was not packed to the gills, nor was it hot and sweaty. It was refreshing, we chatted about all the local purveyors and how the market has evolved over the last 14 years.

Personally, I was thrilled to have a look at the vegetables the professional farmers produce. Holy. Awe and amazement are just two words that come to mind. At one point I had to pull myself back as I found my hand stroking some gorgeous golden beets. One of the biggest lessons I have learned from gardening this year is that beyond the regimented care and diligence, little buggers may just take hold of your precious plants in one night.

Enter the Pill Bug/ Roly Poly.

I noticed early on that something was eating my zucchini plants when they were pretty small. Close by I planted some beans as well and in eight hours, after sun fall, all the leaves were completel…

Tuesday Tips: Choosing Safe Lumber for Backyard Projects

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In the past year we have completed a couple of projects for our backyard that we needed lumber for. For me it was a no brainer in choosing the appropriate wood, CEDAR. Cedar is not chemically treated, but is resistant to bugs and decay. As you may assume, cedar is also more expensive at your local big box hardware store, but to me what price would we pay for exposing ourselves to toxins in pressure treated wood, to save a few bucks? So, it's certainly worth about $4 more a board to protect our health.

In years past, arsenic was used in pressure treated lumber, which has been listed as a known carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency. Around 2003 the arsenic in pressure treated lumber started to be phased out due to it's toxicity to humans. Simply google Toxins Pressure Treated Lumber and Lawyer's websites are the first to appear, which is highly indicative of Class Action Lawsuits. Chemicals (amine copper quat (ACQ) and copper azone-CA) are still used to treat wo…

Back To School Shopping: Crayons, Glue, and Thongs

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Back to school shopping is almost upon us here in Colorado. As a little girl, I fell in love with back to school shopping. Picking out outfits, getting new shoes and sneakers, displaying them in my bedroom closet until the big day. It was always so difficult to decide what to wear on the first day. For the record, I was never ever allowed to wear any back to school clothing before the start of school. Official cardinal rule in my family. Probably won't be pulling that one off with Sj.

To top off the excitement, next month with my 4 year old, I will be heading back to school as well, to start my Master's Degree. I didn't anticipate any traditional "back to school shopping" for myself. For my soon-to-be kindergartener yes, for me no.

I printed out Sj's school supply list, laughing at the requests, 3 boxes of 24 count crayons and thinking gosh, they must take coloring serious at Sj's school. 3 bottles of Elmer's glue with mention of no Rose Art glue, …

Cheating Wives, Police Officers, and Eggs Benedict...

Inevitably we all have some flaws, right? One of my flaws, which I don't really speak too openly about, is eavesdropping. Some of you know about this habit of mine, but many others may be quite surprised by this statement. It's not like eavesdropping in a room where you know everyone, but aren't a part of the conversation. I mean eavesdropping in on conversations of complete strangers, typically mid conversation, which makes it a challenge to figure out what's going in. To top it off, I may add, I have become quite good at reading lips. Gosh, I feel ten pounds lighter already.

Here truly is rock bottom for me. The four of us, on a whim, went out to breakfast one morning last month. Turns out I couldn't tell you one thing my husband said to me, because I was completely consumed. I had hit the eavesdropping JACKPOT. There were two men in a booth behind me, having breakfast as well. My radar first when off when I heard divorce, affair, in my bed. Talk soon moved to l…

Recording My Sloth-Like Nature

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In the past, I've run, attempted to run, walked than ran, sprinted, ran, or just moved at a pace that would be considered sloth-like to most physically fit humans. But that's me. I'm okay with that part of me. I have never attempted a particular pace while running, say for example something completely ridiculous like a SIX MINUTE MILE. Holy heart attack, I do live at 5,500 feet above sea level folks.

Honestly, for me moving at the pace of a snail running, is just about getting out there. Clearing my head, blaring music at a safe level, letting go, listening to swear words to my delight, like Damien Rice singing about how the, loving is good if your dick is made of wood, which I have to totally agree with, but also sensor during most of my days with two little girlies in tow. Catch my drift?

Then in a bizarre way a new fandangled method to record my workouts just sort of aligned in my universe with out me having to seek it out. Last summer, I was fitted for a pair of Nike (…

How I Fell In Love (with a couple hundred men one july)

As with any good love story, I can't quite recall the actual day that I fell in love. But isn't that what love does to us? It sweeps us off our feet in a whirlwind, leaving us wondering if we can ever get enough. I do recall it was somewhere between July 3-25, 1999. It was the 86th Tour de France, when I fell in love with the race and a couple hundred men.

Cycling (not biking- that's what dudes in leather on motorcycles do) has always been a passion for my husband. So naturally his love for the sport, slowly began to wear off on me. That particular summer in July, the media caught hold of an American that was making a name for himself in the European dominated Tour. We all know now, that American was none other than, Lance Armstrong. Now a common household name, a World Champion 7 years straight and to me a personal hero, a beacon for hope in the fight against cancer.

I am still unsure as to how I got caught up in this whole Tour de France frenzy, that every July leaves me …

Tuesday Tips: How To Save Money Shopping At Whole Foods!

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It is no surprise to any of us these days that with an increase of energy costs, the price of producing and shipping food has dramatically impacted the price of groceries. Every time I walk through the door at the grocery store, I just grab ahold of my cart tightly. I prepare myself to be in awe yet again, even if it had only been a few days since my last visit. In awe of course of the skyrocketing prices. If you could catch me at the right moment, you might even find me with my eyes bulging slightly from my head before it starts shaking back and forth, for I can no longer contain myself when I see the increase in prices.

We choose to do the majority of our grocery shopping at Whole Foods, but I am very keen on our other local markets such as Safeway, King Soopers, Vitamin Cottage, Sunflower Farmers Market, or Super Target. I have honed in on the best deals at those markets as well, for I am constantly comparing prices. Constantly. With them being in such a state of flux, I suggest you…

Family Camping In Colorado (it could happen)...

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One could call purchasing a six person tent as a Father's Day Gift, planting a seed. Now that our baby is nineteen months old, it was time for our first family of four camping trip. Heck, we do live in Colorado, one of the most scenic states in the country, where in less than one hour you can arrive smack dab in the center of a scenic dream. A landscape painting come to life. Breathtaking. 10,300 feet above sea level, may I add.

After much debate, discussion, and research, ultimately we decided on Brainard Lake as our destination. The campground features the beauty and splendor of a back country adventure, with the perks of two wonderful amenities-vault toilets and drinking water. Now don't get me wrong, vault toilets are what you would expect, a bit rustic, but the facilities were kept surprisingly tolerable.
(Here's our site, tent off to the left, snow still lingering)
The beauty of our three day excursion was watching J transform into "man of the camp mode", as I…

Brainard Lake Rocky Mountain Majesty

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*Please click on photo for a better view!

Less than an hour drive from my home is an incredible Mountain getaway. For $16 bucks a night, we had this view about 30 seconds from our campsite. The photo features Brainard Lake and with the help of some software I stitched together about eight photos to create this panorama.

We had a wonderful time and honestly I can't wait to return. The weather was a bit chilly at 10,300 feet the first night, but the second night wasn't so bad. There was still snow at our campsite, so it made for a wonderful distraction for the girls.

Snow in July, wearing shorts. You just have to love Colorado. Details to follow.

Journals For Your Children

Mothers that blog, assume that one day their digital journals will become a part of their children's history books, so to speak. While many of my posts contain content about my girls, my blog never was solely intended to focus on my children. Instead this blog was created as an outlet for me, something of my very own. I am not sure how many things are my very own these days and sometimes, the blogging outlet is a blessing. If you happen to be a regular reader of this blog, you know it's a big mishmash of this and that, ponderings, giggles, and happenings. I wouldn't have it any other way.

But I got to thinking. As my interest in writing has peaked, I feel I need to share this interest with my girls. I've decided to pick up two blank journals, one for Sj and one for GL. Each month on their day of birth, I am going to write them a journal entry. I would be kidding myself if I didn't mention that I was inspired by the one and only Dooce. Every month she writes a post …

A Thursday Thirteen Camping We Go Story...

ONE car loaded up to the gills. We're off to the mountains, around 10,000 feet to be exact, for a little adventure with our TWO girls who have been rearing to go. THREE days camping, not a hotel in sight. It feels wonderful to know the FOUR of us are finally getting away, escaping our cellphones, laptops, televisions, and google reader.

So what exactly are we bringing? FIVE must have favorite stuffed animals, of course. The new SIX person tent, which was a brilliant father's day gift. Probably no less than SEVEN varieties of snacks. In all reality, enough food to feed a family of EIGHT, I am assuming. I like to over do it in the food department, especially when we are one long bumpy road and miles from civilization. NINE beautifully colored crayons and paints galore, to keep our artistic juices flowing. I hope the TEN activities I packed are enough to keep us busy over the next few days. Certainly there will be collecting of beautiful natural treasures, at least ELEVEN rocks.

TW…

One Year Ago- Steamboat Springs, CO

Wordless Wednesday-

Tuesday Tips: Farm Raised vs Wild Salmon

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Let's face it, our bodies need a variety of sources of high quality lean protein, with out all the saturated fat traditional protein sources offer us. Throw salmon into the equation and in addition to a high quality lean protein, we find a source rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which are essential to our bodies brain functioning and cardiovascular system (in addition to numerous other health benefits). Often times people suffering from lifestyle induced heart diseases are lacking in Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Salmon should be a part of your diet.

But are all sources of Salmon safe and equal? Unfortunately, they are not.

Farm Raised Salmon, Hidden Dangers:

High levels of PCB's, dioxin, and toxins are found in farm raised salmon, mainly derivative of their fish meal diet.

Pesticides are also found in the flesh of farm raised salmon. They are used to control parasites such as sea lice, but are regulated to not be administered 28 days before harvest, to help avoid a build up in high levels. …